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Nissan Begins Road-Testing “Piloted Drive” Software

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Nissan Intelligent Drive LEAF prototype

Nissan has been discussing two “zero” corporate goals for the future of cars: Zero Emissions and Zero Fatalities. In other words, Nissan is pushing toward a future where vehicles put out zero carbon dioxide emissions and cause zero deaths in traffic accidents.

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The main strategy that Nissan promised to achieve this is using “Nissan Intelligent Driving”—a collection of autonomous driving technology to increase the safety and reliability of vehicles.

And now, Nissan Intelligent Driving is ready to hit the road. Using a modified Nissan LEAF, Nissan will begin road-testing its autonomous driving software in heavy traffic conditions.

Hopefully, this will go well and culminate at the end of 2016, when Nissan plans to offer “Piloted Drive 1.0” in Japan, which will allow completely autonomous driving under heavy traffic conditions. By 2018, Nissan then hopes to upgrade this technology to include multiple-lane piloted drive with the ability to change lanes on the highway. Finally, by 2020, Nissan hopes to fulfill its autonomous drive promise by allowing vehicles to manage urban streets, including intersections, entirely autonomously.

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The prototype LEAF is equipped with a millimeter wave radar, laser scanners, cameras, high-speed computer chips, a specialized Human Machine Interface, and several other autonomous features, all of which aid the vehicle to operate on its own, save for setting destination points.

If this prototype goes well, it could potentially achieve both Zero goals in one swoop (especially since we already have video evidence from a different autonomous driving software that prevented a wreck).